Running has become an all-encompassing lifestyle. And I think that’s awesome. During the first running boom, you had to be a super fast, super fit dude like Colorado’s own Frank Shorter. And while Frank is amazing and I wish I were like him, most of us will never be that fit or that fast. But these days, it doesn’t matter because everyone can run. A lot has changed over the years at Colorado Runner. Here are a few of those trends.
1. The best thing about running in events today is that there are so many women! When I started running local races in the late 1990s, there were very few women at many of the races. On one hand, that was a great way to earn awards, despite not being very fast. I even won prize money at a half marathon once solely because there weren’t very many women competing. I used to run a 5 mile loop through my neighborhood and other women would shout out, “Are you trying to lose weight?” It just wasn’t that normal to be out running. At many races now, women outnumber men. There are so many women who enjoy running and fitness and love to compete. I love that my daughter won’t ever know a world where girls aren’t athletes too.
2. The unrun is alive and healthy. You don’t need to race as fast as you can if you don’t want to. You can run in a color run or a mud run or a candy run. There are obstacle course races and foam party runs. There are so many options that are just silly and fun fitness events. Beer Mile anyone? The great thing about these events is that they introduce newer runners to the sport and they attract people who might not otherwise participate in an event. More than 4 million people participated in a nontraditional running event last year.
3. “Athleisure” made its dictionary debut in 2016. Who says you can’t wear your running tights to the bar? Or go grocery shopping in your workout clothes after your run? Apparel giants like Nike and Lululemon have built a huge industry in passing off workout and running clothes as typical casual wear. And we love it. Because you may not remember it, but you didn’t used to be able to go to the movies in capri tights and a half zip. As a side note, running in 100% cotton is awful. Cotton gets wet and heavy, so by comparison, the newest technical fabrics are amazing.
4. Social media has changed everything. I once ran the Pikes Peak Marathon and didn’t call my mom and tell her that I was entered until after I finished. Now, people I went to high school with know what races I run because I can brag about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And don’t even get me started on sites like Strava. On a recently windy day, my husband wanted to go out and bike a few segments so he could get new records. Fitness-focused apps like Map My Run and Run Keeper can help you plot new routes and inspire you to run more.
5. Music in your pocket. You used to have to run your long runs music free. The ipod was developed in 2001 and changed everything. Now you can listen to 1,000 songs from your smart phone. Or stream music live while you run. With services like Amazon Prime, you can download new playlists for free. I don’t typically run with music, but sometimes it’s great to have that extra beat to help get me out the door.